2013 Honda Civic Versus its Competitors

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Before Cars.com's $20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge in November 2013, we took a detailed look at how our long-term 2013 Honda Civic stacked up individually against the 2013 Nissan Sentra, 2013 Toyota Corolla (before the 2014 redesign) and 2014 Kia Forte.

Follow Our Long-Term Fleet

For 2013, the Civic gained notable improvements after a half-hearted 2012 redesign. Our yearlong goal with the Civic was to assess those changes against other compact sedans that entered our rotating fleet of manufacturer-provided test cars. Below, see how well the updated Civic performed head-to-head against three of those competitors in the following categories: cabin quality, noise, handling, acceleration, braking, ride, gas mileage, seats and roominess, and multimedia usability.

By Joe Bruzek | March 4, 2014 | Comments (8)

Nissan Sentra NISMO Concept at the 2013 L.A. Auto Show

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Looks like: Nissan says the look is "more sophisticated and confident than 'in-your-face' boy racer."
Defining characteristics: Amped up body and NISMO trim and badges
Ridiculous features: This Sentra is capable of 240 hp
Chance of being mass-produced: Undetermined, but Nissan's given the NISMO treatment to several vehicles, and it doesn't look like Sentra is out of the question.  

Usually NISMO spells cool for Nissan, but it'll take a lot to convince us that the latest car to get the automaker's motorsports treatment passes muster. Nissan unveiled the Sentra NISMO concept at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, just a couple days after introducing a NISMO vehicle at the opposite end of the spectrum, the GT-R NISMO.

More 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

Based on the brand's less than impressive compact car, the Sentra NISMO's specs inspire some confidence. The Sentra NISMO rides on a sport-tuned suspension and 19-inch aluminium-alloy wheels with red-painted Brembo-brand brake calipers. Under the hood is the Juke NISMO's turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder; it makes 240 horsepower in this application, a definite step up from the production Sentra's anemic 130-hp, 1.8-liter four cylinder. A six-speed manual is the sole transmission.

By Jennifer Geiger | November 20, 2013 | Comments (1)

2013 Nissan Sentra Photo Gallery

Click any photo for a larger version. All photos by Evan Sears.

$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Results
$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Index

2013 Nissan Sentra SV

By David Thomas | November 10, 2013 | Comments (0)

2013 Nissan Sentra: Family Checklist

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Small sedans seem like they should be a good fit for my family because both my kids are out of child-safety seats, but I've just exchanged car seats for gangly limbs.

In the land of long legs and personal space, rear legroom for the kids is paramount, which is where the 2013 Nissan Sentra treated us right. However, this compact sedan's engine noise drove my whole family a bit crazy.

My test car, a Sentra SL, had a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that's paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission, and it made so much noise that my whole family complained about it whenever we went anywhere — not that we could hear each other. The CVT and its loud whine was the source of the noise. Conversation would cease, and if music was desired, the stereo would need to be turned up pretty loud.

By Sara Lacey | September 6, 2013 | Comments (2)

Honda Accord, Civic Remain Top Targets for Thieves

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If you own a Honda Accord or Civic, or a full-size Ford pickup truck, you might want to take a moment to make sure your auto-insurance payments are up to date. You drive one of the top three most-stolen vehicles in the U.S. That's according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau's just-released "Hot Wheels" list, which examines annual vehicle-theft data submitted by law-enforcement agencies across the country to the National Crime Information Center to determine the makes and models most-frequently reported stolen during the previous year.

As in past years, Honda Accords and Civics by far were the most-stolen vehicles in 2012, totaling 58,596 and 47,037, respectively, with full-size Ford pickups coming in a distant third with 26,770 thefts. Older Accords and Civics eclipsed newer Hondas in theft frequency, which NICB attributes to improved anti-theft technology. Most of the makes and models return from the previous list; the only newcomers were the Nissan Altima (No. 9) and Nissan Maxima (No. 10), knocking the Ford Explorer and Nissan Sentra off this year's roster.

By Matt Schmitz | August 20, 2013 | Comments (4)

IIHS Tests 12 Compact Cars: Six Pass, Six Fail

A half-dozen compact cars have earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick+ honor, the nonprofit vehicle-safety advocacy group announced today. Of the 12 models evaluated, top awardees included the two- and four-door versions of the 2013 Honda Civic, 2013 Dodge Dart, 2013 Ford Focus, 2013 Hyundai Elantra and 2014 Scion tC. All of these received Good or Acceptable ratings overall in five different crash tests.

Six other cars — the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic, 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, 2013 Volkswagen Beetle, 2013 Nissan Sentra, 2013 Kia Soul and 2014 Kia Forte — earned Marginal or Poor ratings. "In some cases dummies' heads struck hard structures like the windshield pillar and instrument panel," IIHS media relations associate Kristin Nevels said in a statement.

By Matt Schmitz | August 8, 2013 | Comments (8)

2014 Nissan Sentra: What's Changed

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  • Most significant changes: CVT and suspension tuning; wider availability of convenience details
  • Price change: TBD
  • On sale: Late November
  • Which should you buy, 2013 or 2014? The 2013; we don't expect pricing to change much and most of the new features are on the most-expensive trim level or optional equipment.

Nissan redesigned its compact sedan for 2013 with a more fuel-efficient powertrain and a new look, inside and out. The Sentra also got lighter and longer for 2013; for 2014, the updates are minor.

The 2014 Sentra uses the same 130-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and continuously variable automatic or six-speed manual transmissions. Also carrying over are S, SV, SV, SR and SL trim levels, as well as the fuel-efficiency-oriented FE+ Package on the S and SV trims. Nissan says the 2014 Sentra received revised CVT, steering and suspension tuning.

By Jennifer Geiger | July 25, 2013 | Comments (3)

2013 Nissan Sentra: Car Seat Check

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With its 2013 redesign, the Nissan Sentra grew 2.3 inches in length to 182.1 inches. The backseat also increased in size over the 2012 Sentra. The compact sedan has 37.4 inches of rear legroom versus the 2012's 34.5 inches. When we installed car seats in the 2012 Sentra, we had to move the front passenger seat forward to accommodate rear-facing child-safety seats. That's no longer the case with the redesigned 2013 Sentra.

By Jennifer Newman | July 23, 2013 | Comments (0)

2013 Honda Civic Versus 2013 Nissan Sentra

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In our makeshift compact-car Olympics, our long-term 2013 Honda Civic has had a bumpy ride. It trounced the outgoing Toyota Corolla but was KIA by a Kia — the brand's redesigned 2014 Forte. It wasn't the fairest fight, given our particular Forte test car stickered for considerably more, but then again, so did our test Corolla, which lost big anyway. This time around, we pit the Honda against another redesign: the 2013 Nissan Sentra, a car that went on sale in October 2012. Sentra sales are up 18.7% through June, but the Civic still outsells it by more than a 2-1 ratio — an extension of sales history, where the Civic has thumped the Sentra for the past decade.

Follow Our Long-Term Test Fleet

Sales popularity and strength of product often have little relation, though (see the Corolla review). We received an automatic-equipped Sentra SL, which had a few more features than our Civic LX — most notably dual-zone automatic climate control, alloy wheels and a navigation system. Still, its $21,370 sticker, including destination, came closer to the Civic's $19,755 than the optioned-out Forte EX or absurdly equipped Corolla S.

We drove the new Sentra in 2012 and came away unmoved, but back-to-back competitive drives always shed more light. Editor Kelsey Mays and Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder drove the new Sentra alongside the Civic to find out.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | July 17, 2013 | Comments (25)

What's the Most Affordable Compact Sedan?

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Car shoppers want a long list of features in a new car, even if that car is a compact sedan that starts around $16,000. That starting price usually doesn't include what many consider "must-have" features — chief among them an automatic transmission.

We took 11 compact sedans and looked at their prices when equipped with the following features:

  • Automatic transmission
  • Cruise control
  • USB input
  • Remote entry
  • Tilt/telescoping steering wheel
  • Steering-wheel audio controls

It may seem like a simple search, but if you're looking at a new Nissan Sentra, Dodge Dart or Volkswagen Jetta, you'll need to know the specific trim level, options and option packages to ensure you won't regret not having that one missing feature.

We took those as-equipped prices and then added five years of fuel costs to come up with the most affordable compact sedan on the market.

Having recently purchased our long-term Honda Civic that has all of these features in a base model, we thought it had a good shot of scoring well here. But the results were somewhat surprising, especially in terms of what car was No. 1.

By David Thomas | May 8, 2013 | Comments (15)

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